Aussies love to stream, but historically have used our mobile phone data in a pretty miserly fashion. From turning off auto-play videos, to avoiding data usage altogether, many of us are wary or reluctant to stream on our phones or tablets. However, several key providers in the telco landscape now offer some form of data-free or unmetered streaming.
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Data-Free Netflix, Stan & ABC iView Streaming
Optus is now the only telco to provide data-free Netflix, Stan and ABC iView viewing on selected plans, although some providers may temporarily offer this perk as part of a short-term deal or promotion. With Optus, you can stream these services data-free, though you must of course maintain your own subscription.
- Speeds are slowed to 1.5Mbps for streaming, which is generally good enough for a Standard Definition stream, which reportedly looks fine on a mobile phone.
- To enjoy data-free streaming, you usually must be willing to spend an additional $5 a month on your phone plan.
That $5 may be well worth it, however, as exceeding your data cap can cost an extra $10 for 1GB. Prepaid customers aren’t so lucky, with many plans coming with a set amount of extra data to stream – usually around 10GB – and usually only for set periods e.g. the first two recharges.
Data-Free Foxtel Now Streaming
To get a ‘premium’ product such as Foxtel Now, you’ll usually have to purchase a ‘premium’ phone plan. Currently Telstra is the only one to have a partnership with Foxtel, and it not only offers streaming data-free but also includes a number of packs on some higher-end phone plans.
- On a range of SIM only postpaid deals and phones on a plan from $79 a month, users can get access to one Foxtel Now starter pack – worth $10-$15 separately.
- The subscriptions last for either 12 or 24 months, depending on your plan.
These packs can be streamed data-free, and with these you’ll get access to premium Pay TV channels. Users can choose a Pop, Drama, Docos, Kids or Lifestyle starter pack, with Game of Thrones being on the Drama starter pack.
Data-Free NRL & AFL Streaming
Sports nuts rejoice – you can watch AFL & NRL on the go, for free and data-free with Telstra. On many plans, Telstra offers either AFL and/or NRL streaming apps, which are both unmetered and included in monthly phone plans. In the deal also includes the Australian Suncorp Super Netball season as well as AFLW.
- Data-free streams are available on all phone plans that have a $30+ value, including prepaid options.
- Users can download the respective sports’ apps and login to the stream with their Telstra ID.
The value of these apps if purchased separately can exceed $220 over the course of a year, making it a serious value add-on.
Is a plan with data-free streaming worth it?
Data-free streaming could be the holy grail of phone plans, with data the new battleground for telcos. Finding a phone plan with some form of unmetered TV streaming is certainly not a common occurrence, but they are out there. The question is, should you buy into one?
To get data-free TV streaming you usually need to go with the big boys – Telstra and Optus. Chances are if you’re already with these telcos and you’ve been on the same plan for over two years, it could pay to upgrade and get access to all the modern-day perks. However, if you’re with another provider you’ll have to weigh up your options:
- To get data-free streaming you either have to maintain a plan that costs $30 or more, with some premium options costing closer to $80.
- Consider how much you stream already – could your existing data be enough?
If you are regularly exceeding your data cap, it could be time to upgrade. However, if you’re not streaming too much and you are comfortably within your data cap, it makes little sense to switch. All in all, data-free TV streaming looks like the unicorn of mobile phone plans, but you’ll have to weigh up your options and consider if it’s even worth it first.